I'm looking for a verb which can convey the meaning of damaging or breaking something beyond repair. Here is a sample sentence:

"I didn't expect that of you! You just _____ my heart!"

2 Answers 2


Of all the synonyms given at Thesaurus.com for obliterate{d} and destroye{d}, I'd say that only shattered fits at all well here.

There are 341 000 Google hits for "shattered my heart", which is more forceful than the more common "broke my heart".

M-W gives the 'beyond repair' sense:

shatter transitive verb


2 a : to break at once into pieces

b : to damage badly : ruin

3 : to cause the disruption or annihilation of : demolish

and ODO adds:

shatter verb ...

1.1 [with object] Damage or destroy (something abstract)

‘the crisis will shatter their confidence’

2 [with object] Upset (someone) greatly.

‘everyone was shattered by the news’

The latter usage is obviously closely related to the example given in the question.

  • 1
    "Obliterate" also means "destroyed beyond repair", but I think it can only be applied to sites (things at a specific location). Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 10:12


Happily it has two accepted meanings according to Collins

  1. to destroy or kill a large proportion of: a plague decimated the population.
  2. (Military) (esp in the ancient Roman army) to kill every tenth man of (a mutinous section)

While I think the first definition is exaggeration in your context, I could agree with the second (interpreted as "reduce by 10%), and I like the ambiguity here.

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